"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The book of neurogenesis

Science shows that it is feasible to create recent brain cells and improve your memory. The key’s to maneuver.

It was once thought that the brain couldn’t make recent cells. You only used those you were born with, and in the event that they died of age or injury, that was it.

Scientific studies now show that the brain can proceed to provide recent cells, called neurons, as we age, even into the top of life, through a process called neurogenesis.

How well the brain does this—and the way we are able to enhance it—could solve the puzzle of improving age-related memory loss and maybe stopping dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

Rising speed

The average brain accommodates about 100 billion brain cells, most of that are formed before birth. In the early stages of childhood, recent brain cells proceed to form at a rapid rate. Over the years, neurogenesis progressively declines, but the method doesn’t stop even in old age.

This is particularly true within the hippocampus. There are two of those small, seahorse-shaped areas within the brain. One is positioned within the left hemisphere and the opposite in the proper. They are liable for learning and storing memories. “There are other areas of the brain that also generate new brain cells, but the hippocampus seems to be where most of the activity happens,” says Dr. Tanzi.

Research has shown that the hippocampus can generate 700 to 1,500 recent neurons every day. This may not look like much considering the vast galaxy of neurons, but even this small number has value, because it supports existing neurons.

“The thinking is that if you can increase that number further through neurogenesis, you can speed up the basic function of the hippocampus and improve the way people learn new information and access short- and long-term memory. ” says Dr. Tanzi.

Adapt yourself to scale back your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Q: Seven to eight hours of sleep. Adequate sleep helps the brain clear amyloid plaques and other toxins, an excess of which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.

H: Handling stress. Stress stimulates the adrenal glands to provide and release more cortisol, which might adversely affect memory and cognitive function.

I: Interaction with family and friends. Some studies show that chronic loneliness doubles the chance of Alzheimer's disease.

E: exercise Regular aerobic activity helps induce neurogenesis.

L: Learning recent things. Learning increases synapses (communication pathways between neurons) and improves brain flexibility.

D: Food. Plant-based eating patterns equivalent to the Mediterranean and Brain Diet promote a healthy gut microbiome, which can play a crucial role in maintaining brain health through the gut-brain axis—the gut-brain connection. The relationship between the best way to communicate.

Finding connections

Scientists have explored several specific questions on neurogenesis. For example, what exactly “turns on” neurogenesis within the hippocampus? What affects memory? And perhaps most significantly, is it possible to spice up neurogenesis to enhance cognition in individuals with Alzheimer's?

Unfortunately, human studies on neurogenesis are limited. Most of what we find out about it comes from animal studies. But here's what's understood thus far, and the way it’d relate to humans.

In a study led by Dr. Tanzi, researchers used drugs and gene therapy to induce hippocampal neurogenesis in old mice that had been genetically modified to develop Alzheimer's to find out whether Stimulating the production of latest brain cells will decelerate the disease or vice versa.

They felt that the condition of the animals had not improved. “While drugs and gene therapy helped create new neurons, they eventually died like other existing neurons before they could have any lasting effect,” says Dr. Tanzi.

Next, they took a unique approach and explored whether exercise could stimulate neurogenesis — and, if that’s the case, what the long-lasting effect is perhaps. (Scientists have already found a robust link between increased aerobic exercise and improved mood in adults.)

Here, Dr. Tanzi and his team put healthy young and old rats through an exercise routine on a running wheel. Aerobic exercise not only stimulated neurogenesis within the mice, but in addition increased what’s generally known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein present in the brain that plays a key role in neurological health. “It helps neurons grow and survive,” says Dr. Tanzi. “It's like a fertilizer to help plant seeds grow.”

Follow-up research has supported the exercise-neurogenesis link. One study found that adult male rats that performed aerobic exercise for eight weeks had two to thrice more hippocampal neurons than rats that didn’t exercise. In addition to producing BDNF, aerobic exercise can assist increase the liver's production of an enzyme called Gpld1, which may also support neurogenesis.

Brain exercises.

Although these findings were from animal studies, Dr. Tanzi says people can get brain advantages from aerobic exercise. “Right now, there is no substitute for regular exercise to support neurogenesis,” says Dr. Tanzi.

It's not yet clear what variety of exercise works best, nor how long or how much is enough. Until these questions are addressed, Dr. Tanzi recommends 120 to 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. “Anything that gets the heart rate up, like treadmills, cycling, or power walking, is ideal,” he says. “If it works for the body, it's great for the mind.”

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